Worli Koliwada: Mumbai's Best-Kept Secret

This Koli fishing village is a Top-10 location for street photography in Mumbai.

Worli Koliwada is the designated name for a Koli fishing village located in the suburb of Worli, in Mumbai. It's a fantastic spot for street photography, easily one of the Top 10 places in Mumbai and for me personally, Top 3. There are several reasons for this.

1. Scenic Backdrops

With the Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge close by, composing shots of fishermen against this iconic structure is both a pleasure and a challenge. The best time to take pictures here is at just after the official sunrise. If luck is on your side and there's a brilliant sunrise, the bridge will light up in golden hues.

2. Friendly People

The Koli are generally some of the nicest residents in Mumbai. A "good morning" goes a long way here. Many of them will also converse in English. The children are especially curious and usually happy to be photographed. With a little common sense and mutual respect, Mumbaikars who've never visited before may be surprised by how great of neighbours they have within a stone's throw from the bridge.

3. Views of the city from Worli Fort

Worli Fort was built in 1675 by the British. Perched on top of a hill, it provides a 365 degree view of Bandra and Taj Land's End in the north, Mahim Bay, and Worli and South Bombay. Photographs are generally frowned upon here as there are ongoing concerns about security of the distant Sea Link. The people tending to the grounds can generally be persuaded to let you take pictures if you're courteous and if you arrive early enough in the morning when granting exceptions isn't as much of an issue. If anything, it's a great place to visit to take in a unique view of Mumbai.

4. Colourful lanes and homes

Walking through the village one of the first things you'll notice are the fantastic colours. There's definitely a "Positano" vibe, but it's uniquely Koli. There are countless lanes and footpaths to get lost in but there's no real danger of actually getting lost on this small peninsula. You can generally rely on observing which direction most of the foot traffic is heading or you can simply ask and someone will point you the way out to the main road. Again, a little common sense and mutual respect go a long way here. Refrain from photographing people in their homes or ask for permission first. Generally, shopkeepers won't mind you taking pictures and are usually happy to pose. Once this tiny village awakens after sunrise, you'll find it a vibrant place full of life and a pleasant refuge from the noisy streets of Mumbai.

Best times to go

If you're interested in capturing sunrise shots, it's best to check the official sunrise time for Mumbai and then plan on arriving at least 45 minutes prior to allow yourself time to walk through the village (about 20 minutes) and to pick your location and set up. The same thing could be said for the sunsets, which are just as brilliant. Otherwise, if you're not an early-riser then anytime from 9am onward is a good time to visit, up through sunset. But I would highly recommend visiting between 9am - 12pm (to avoid the worst of the heat and lunch time) or from approximately 3pm to sunset.

The best place to meet is at Sea Corner along the main road. From there, it's a short walk to the perimeter of the village.

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